ASEAN watch your “next” chairman:Authorities putting pressure on NLD charity school

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Efforts to expand an NLD-supported charity school, Mom’s Home, in North Okkalapa Township are being blocked by local authorities, according to a school official who is a National League for Democracy (NLD) member.

Moms-HomeAll three locations of the NLD-sponsored Mom’s Home schools have had problems in finding or remodeling locations to hold free classes for students. Photo: Mizzima

‘The current school building was filled to capacity, so I’m trying to renovate my home that was destroyed in Cyclone Nargis to be used as the school. But, the township administrative office chief told me to stop the renovation until his superior authority grants  a permit’, school director Aye Myint told Mizzima. The township administrative office imposed the prohibition on Tuesday.

Aye Myint runs a charity school for about 100 children from kindergarten to grade seven. The school follows the government curriculum. Many people in both urban and rural areas rely on charity schools.

Mom’s Home charity school was opened in January 2011 with NLD support.

Another Mom’s Home school on Thumarlar Road in North Okkalapa Township has been asked to leave its location after authorities applied pressure on the landlord. The school must relocate before June 23.

NLD-affiliated charity schools in Rangoon and other areas have faced difficulties in finding new locations because the authorities threatened the landlords by saying their building would be sealed off if they rented to the NLD.

‘For instance, when we asked a landlord to rent a home, the landlord agreed to rent. But the next day, the landlord didn’t want to rent to us. This is a constantly recurring problem. When we inquired, the neighbours of the landlord told us that the authorities threatened the landlord if they rented to us’, said Thida Swe, an official with Mom’s Home school in North Okkalapa Township.

Thida Swe said Military Affairs Security personnel sometimes watch the school and it scares away some parents.

There are five volunteer teachers and 40 students in the school. Students are graduate students, university students and high school students. The school provides Basic English Language and grade 9 and 10 courses.

‘The students are very keen to learn’, said Thida Swe. ‘Now, the deadline for moving our school is coming, but we cannot find a new home so I’m very worried that the school will have to close’.

A student from the school said, ‘If we enroll at other schools to take this course, we must pay about 40,000 kyat (US$ 35) for a six-month course. Here, we can learn free. Also, we can learn subjects like critical thinking. If the school cannot open anymore, students like us lose out’.

Mom’s Home charity schools provide primary school courses, high school courses, basic English speaking courses and summer holiday courses.

There are three Mom’s Home charity schools located at No. 548, Maykha Road, 14th Ward, Hlaingtharya Township; on Marga Road, North Okkalapa Ward 2, North Okkalapa Township; and on Thumarlar Road near High School No. 4 in North Okkalapa Township.

The Bayda Institute, another NLD-affiliated school in Thingangyun Township in Rangoon, has been forced to move twice after local authorities applied pressure on the landlords. The current landlord has asked the school to leave its present location, said a school official.

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